Wexit worries

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There is a frightening column by Danielle Smith in the Calgary Herald which suggests that the prospect of a Wexit, about which I have commented, at least a couple of times, before, is on the rise. I remain, personally, committed to the notion that Canada, from sea-to-sea-to-sea, is better, in the 21st century, than is any of the separatist alternatives. But I also understand that while most of my fellow Canadians accept that the centre-of-balance of Canada is in a tiny area that hugs the shores of Lakes Erie, Huron and Ontario and the St Lawrence River …

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… that’s just a geo-politial/demographic fact of life that makes good historic and economic sense, they don’t like it. There is a very, very gradual socio-economic and political shift away from the Laurentian Basin ~ it has been talked about for decades ~ but it will not happen fast enough for many.

There’s a further problem. Canada, broadly, but especially what the late Professor Michael Bliss called (link above) “Old Canada,” Canada East of the Ottawa River, but also much of urban and suburban Ontario, leans, politically, to the left …

… while most of Western Canada, Michael Bliss’ “New Canada” leans to the right. This is most pronounced in statist Québec and in independence-minded Alberta.

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But while, I think, most Québécois have given up on the notion of independence, the idea is gaining ground in Western Canada and, I think, it is, somewhat ironically, because of Québec. It doesn’t matter how (or even why) equalization works. The fact is that too many Western Canadians see it as just another way for their tax dollars, the fruit of their hard work, to be funnelled to Québec because … well, because it is Québec.

I worry that the Wexit movement has an effective leader in the person of former federal Conservative House Leader Jay Hill and some obvious sympathizers amongst those who signed the Buffalo Declaration, which includes several prominent federal Conservative MPs including Michelle Rempel-Garner. These are serious people with a list of serious grievances that the Laurentian Elites do not (and I suspect cannot) understand. That is, I think, the biggest difference between Québec separatism, which rose in the 1950s and peaked in the 1990s and the modern Western separatist (Wexit) movement. Everyone understood that the Québécois saw themselves as an oppressed minority. Not everyone agreed that they were oppressed but everyone agreed that they felt aggrieved and almost everyon wanted to resolve their sense of alienation. There is little, if any, understanding, in Greater Vancouver, urban Ontario, or anywhere in Québec and Atlantic Canada, of Alberta’s or, more generally, Western Canadians’ grievances. That lack of understanding, a near total lack of comprehension about what matters in Alberta, is what, Danielle Smith suggests, is making a referendum on Alberta independence more and more likely in 2023.

In 1995 many, many Western Canadians said …

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… “My Canada Includes Québec,” and Albertans drove to Montréal to say “We love Québec.” Today, in response to hit after hit at Alberta’s energy sector Québec’s reaction, and Toronto’s, is a yawn. That’s why there was a Buffalo Declaration; that’s why there is a Maverick Party which says, familiarly, ‘The West Wants In‘ and if we’re not welcome, as equals, then ‘The West Wants Out,’ and that why Drew Barnes, a United Conservative Party Member of the Alberta Legislature has announced that he wants a referendum in 2023.

We, Canadians had best start paying attention … IF we want a Canada, at all. I, personally, know too many Canadians, born and raised and even still living in Eastern Canada who have told me that IF the Wexit ever happens they will be headed to Chilliwack, or Penhold, or Moose Jaw or Portage la Prairie. I can’t think of anyone who says that they would leave an independent West to return to Toronto, Ottawa or Montréal.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

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